If you’re relocating to Ontario with children, you’re probably eager to understand the options for their schooling. It’s important to think about your family’s personal needs, and there’s no one correct choice. Luckily, the school systems in Ontario offer a diverse and reputable selection ranging from public secular and religious school, French-language options, and variety of private schools. We at Settle-in.com are here to help you understand each of the School Systems in Ontario.
Public School Systems in Ontario:
There are four publicly funded school systems in Ontario.
English public: This option is available to all students. There are 31 English public schools across the province.
English Catholic: There are 29 English Catholic Schools. Ontario is the only province that funds English Catholic school exclusively by taxpayers. In Catholic School, students are required to study religion.
French public: French public school is reserved for students whose parents are “French Language rights holders,” which means it difficult for anglophone children, or those with another language background to matriculate here. However, many English public schools offer French immersion programs at which they study the majority of their subjects in French. There are four French public school systems in Ontario.
French Catholic: Like French public school, French Catholic school is reserved for students whose parents are “French Language rights holders,” which means most anglophone children or those with another language background most likely won’t matriculate here. Students are required to study religion, in addition to the Ontario academic curriculum. There are eight French Catholic school systems in Ontario.
Additionally, there are alternative schools within the public school system, and they have been growing in popularity for nearly the past decade. These sometimes offer nontraditional teaching methods, or cater to a specific demographic of students, like those with special needs or children who are gifted. Some examples include the Afrocentric School, which was created to improve retention rate amongst black students in Toronto, DSBN Academy for those who may lack access to educational resources, and Eden High School in St. Catharine’s, which is religion-based.
For more about public education in Ontario, visit the Ministry of Education.
Private Schools in Ontario:
The private schools system includes a diverse and innovative array of primary school and secondary school educational institutions. Considered by some to offer a more rigorous educational experience for students, programs the range includes experimental, special needs, religious, gifted, boarding schools or day schools, and schools that focus on a particular area of interest, like the arts or sports. It’s important to understand that because private schools are not publicly funded, they cost more than public schools – anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 per year (for boarding schools).
If you’re considering enrolling your child in a private school, it’s important to begin the application process early, sometimes as early as two years before you would like your child to enroll.
Here’s some information and advice about the enrollment process:
- It’s a great idea to visit multiple private schools during open house days, to get a feel for the environment and community before choosing which schools to pursue.
- Most private school admissions process includes an exam. This assesses the prospective student’s proficiency level in subjects including math, language arts, logic and other subjects. There is no officially designated exam format, so each school could do it differently.
- In addition to an exam, children may be asked to go through an interviewing process or submit a portfolio of work.
- You’ll probably want your child to apply to more than one school, as he/she may not be admitted to some. It’s also great to have options if he/she is selected for more than one!
- It may be the case that your child is placed on a waiting list. If this occurs, it’s not a guarantee that a spot will open up, but there’s a significant chance of it happening because many students choose not to go to a school to which they are admitted.
For more about private schools in Ontario, you can visit this Our Kids website.
From all of us at Settle-in.com, we hope this helps your kids hit the books!
Read more about Education:
- Elementary School in Ontario: Program and Schedule
- Language Courses in Toronto – Your Options
- The Public School System in Quebec: Strengths and Weaknesses